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Maybe Leadership Should Be Lonely

I always hated the idea of a support group (or any group, for that matter), and I never really understood why. But this week, I think I have connected the dots. I associate support groups with weakness, and I know it is harsh, but hear me out. 


Both my parents have problems with alcohol, and I always looked at them with contempt when they were looking at the bottom of the glass. My mother always needed men's support to hold it together, and my father, up until today, has his support group. So, for me, standing alone in the harshest storm against everyone is a sign of strength. I look up to those people. I have always been the strongest when I am doing something alone. In fact, I block people out when I am going through a difficult time. I prefer to be alone while dealing with stuff. Once, I had a cancer scare, checked myself into a hospital and didn't tell anyone:-) 


So, when a leader told me this week that "Leadership is lonely," I said, "Maybe it should be". Maybe leadership is for the strongest who can withstand the storm and not fall apart when their confidantes, besties or partners leave them. They have the ability to self-reflect, grapple with ideas and digest their challenges and predicaments alone. They don't need their friends to work with them, their validation or close relationships at work to function. They thrive alone and are detached from others; therefore, they can look at business rationally. They listen but don't get influenced by others and certainly don't do things to please others. 


Maybe leadership must be lonely because pushing forward agendas/ideas despite pushbacks requires someone who can stand alone and strong against the crowd's attacks. Those who can stand alone know who they are. They trust themselves despite their difficulties, don't break, and start writing LinkedIn posts about how hard things are and whether or not they made the right decision. Leadership is for the strongest because we don't want to follow leaders who cannot stand on their feet and need to be held together by a group of people. How can we trust them to lead us through challenges when they make the difficulties about themselves?


Have we been sold this idea of vulnerability, which is now giving us the weakest leaders? Maybe there is a good reason why leadership is lonely.


Maybe leadership must be lonely because that's a natural selection criteria. The bullies and the circumstances couldn't bring him or her down. She/he is still standing, alone and strong!


PS: We all need support, even the strong ones. But the strongest ones become formidable when alone against the entire world! They need support but don't crumble when it is not available. I like characters who can go through life without others holding them together. 



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